Ryan Gosling's new film Drive, a noir action thriller about a Hollywood stunt driver who gets embroiled in helping his neighbor settle a mob debt, shook up the race for the Palm D'Or, the grand jury prize at 2011 Cannes International Film Festival, when it was screened on Thursday night in the south of France.

Drive begins slowly but builds to a brutal climax, which had Cannes' audiences gasping and hiding their eyes. Gosling's character — aptly named Driver — has few lines but expresses a lot through his vivid eye and body movements. The film which co-stars Carey Mulligan, as Gosling's neighbor who he makes an ill-fated decision to help, now seems favored to win after director Lars Von Trier, who's film Melancholia was well received earlier in the week, was banned from the festival Wednesday for comments about Nazism. —ERIK MEERS in Cannes

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